Skip to main content

Full text of "Correspondence from Ray Fremmer. November 28, 1977 to December 31, 1982"

See other formats


3 1548 00267 387 

November 28, 1977 to December 31, 1982 

CONTENTS - by Subject and Date 

Subject Pages 

Pine Lodge - Methuen, Mass. 1 - ii 

Stillwater - Salem, N.H. 5-6 

Stanton Harcourt - Windham, N.H. 7 

Flaming Towers Carving 8-9 

Barrington House - Great Barrington, Mass. 10 

Irving & Casson Company - Interior Decorators 11 

Tenney Castle - Methuen, Mass. 12 - 13 
Serlo Organ Hall and Factory - Methuen, Mass. llj- - 16 

Goodspeeds Bookstore - Boston, Mass. 17 

Arthur McKenzie 18 

Walter Glidden 19 - 20 

Judge Cox 21 

Charles W. Mann 22 

Arthur T. Walker 23 

Angelo 'Angy' Ellison 2Il - 25 

Ray Fremmer 26 - 35 

APPENDIX 36 - 37 

Edited and Compiled by the recipient 
Robert DeLage 



S8 S^KR^kI 

; ■ ■ 

IONS ■ ■ HhI 

■ ■■ 1 

- ■ • 

■ I 

■ ■ H 



I I 

■J • 




November 28, 1977 to December 31, 1982 

CONTENTS - by Subject and Date 

Subject Pages 

Pine Lodge - Methuen, Mass, 1 - k- 

Stillwater - Salem, N.H. 5-6 

Stanton Harcourt - Windham, N.H. 7 

Flaming Towers Carving 8-9 

Barrington House - Great Barrington, Mass. 10 

Irving & Casson Company - Interior Decorators 11 

Tenney Castle - Methuen, Mass. 12 - 13 

Serlo 0re:an Hall and Factory - Methuen, Mass. it}. - 16 

Goodspeeds Bookstore - Boston, Mass. 17 

Arthur McKenzie 18 

Walter Glidden 19 - 20 

Judge Cox 21 

Charles W. Mann 22 

Arthur T. Walker 23 

Angelo 'Angy' Ellison 2\\ - 2£ 

Ray Fremmer 26 - 35 

APPENDIX 36 - 37 

Edited and Compiled by the recipient 
Robert DeLage 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 

Ray Fremmer 
|>rant Bay, Jamaica 
June, 196^ 

"Green Park" 
Falmouth, Jamaica 
Ray Fremmer ' s 
Great House 

Flaming Towers Carving 
'rom the demolished wing 
of Pine Lodp;e 

Pine Lodge Entrance 
and old East Street 

The postcard view 
Ray Fremmer retained 

Construction of 
the Boiler Room, 
at Pine Lodge 

Pine Lodge Chapel 
and Mausoleum 

"so untouchable, 
so storybook" 

Pine Lodge 
where Ray Fremmer 
entered a doorway 
in 19l|.0 

On the left 
Leon Richet's 
"The Forest 
of Fount ainbleu, 
the Grande Route" 
an 18 x 10 1/2 foot 
originally in 
Kellogg Terrace 

The Marble Halls 
where Ray Fremmer 
at age fourteen 
in 191+0 

Appleside wing 

E. P. Searles' 

at Pine Lodge 

Pine Lodge 
mid 1920s 

All construction 

to the left 

of the center tree 

was demolished 

circa 1930 

Mr. Searles 1 

Tenney Estate 
the approach 

Pine Lodge Tower 
on right 

The Tenney Mansion 

'Grey Court ' 

circa 1891 

Tenney Estate 
'The Lodge' on left 

Medford Street 

in distance 
on upper right 

Stillwater Manor 
alem, New Hampshire 

Stillwater Road 
)ver the Stone Bridge 

The Stone Bridge 
On Seerles' Road 
;o Stillwater Manor 

Tie "oerf's dwelling" 
on Pond Street 

•t Stillwater estate 

Oak Hill Farm 

As viewed 
along Pond Street 

The Stone 

Observation Tower 

at Oak Hill 


Top Photo: Irving & Casson / A. H. Davenport Co., Cambridge 
The source of all decorative work for the Searlea mansions. 

Bottom Photo: The Old East Street Gate Lodge at Pine Lodge 
Ray Premmer shown peering through the doors. 
Photo taken by his brother 

Walker Monument 
Maple Leaf Cemetery 
Chatham, Ontario 

Arthur T. Walker 

Entrance to 
Maple Leaf Cemetery 

Barrington House 

ftiere it all began 
for me 

July, 1963 

The arched entryway 
to Barrington House 

Chamber of Commerce 

Both, now, only 
a Memory 

Robert DeLage 

- 1 - 

Pine Lodge 

December 13, 1977 

I am ashamed to admit I do not know what you are talking 
about when you refer to the "marble museum" at Pine Lodge. 
The modern wing the Sisters built is new from scratch, not a 
veneer of bricks; I saw them build it. No, I would say that 
Pine Lodge is still there. The little farmhouse in which 
Searles grew up was finally enveloped by the Greek Revival 
style Pine Lodge, but very little of that was demolished when 
the nuns built their wing; just enough to facilitate connecting 
the new with the old. 

You ask me if the mansion, Pine Lodge, was built of wood 
or stone. Whatever it was built of, and I would say wood, it 
is still built of the same material, and I would say it is 
still there; and unless they have painted it, the color is 
still the same. 

In 19^-0, in broad daylight, I entered the building alone 
through a door that stood open. The foreman of a crew working 
nearby asked the man to whom he had been talking if I were the 
son of one of the workmen. As I disappeared into the building 
I heard him reply that he did not know who I was. Nobody 
followed me and I spent the better part of the day wandering 
through the cavernous building. I was fourteen years old, and 
finally satisfying a fourteen year old dream; to see what lay 
within those ghostly grey exterior walls. Inside my entrance 
door I found myself in a small cramped stairwell, with a small 
room lying off of it. It was filled with a thousand and one 
things, so much so that if there had been any furniture in there 
you couldn't have seen it.' Foremost in my memory, for that room, 
was the metal armor, and the stacks and stacks of books. One 
book listed all the works of art contained in Pine Lodge. It was 
a published book, not a manuscript. Next, I went up the stairs, 
On every floor, for three floors, there were rooms stuffed full of 
things; these rooms lay off each landing. It was as though the 
owner of the building had, in his lifetime, a hobby of buying 
out antique shops and simply piled everything in every room in 
his house, until he couldn't move too easily in the rooms. On the 
third floor I went down a narrow corridor, opened a door, expecting 
to find another room filled with things, and was delighted to find 
myself on the small balcony of a hall three stories tall, but not 
as broad as other halls I was to wander into later. All the halls 
had beautiful marble floors, with marble columns supporting the 
ceilings. My first impression to register, as I opened that door, 
was the shiny marble floor far below me, and the second to register 
were the heroic-sized white marble statues. As there was no way 
of getting down to the hall floor from the balcony I retraced my 
steps down the stairwell, and on the ground floor I found another 
corridor leading to the marble hall. The furniture in the hall 
was sparse, and I know now it was French; though I didn't know it 
at the time. It had a lot of brass fittings attached to the sides 
and curved legs. The brass tied in with the gold color scheme of 

- 2 - 

Pine Lodge 

December 13, 1977 - continued 

the interior decoration, even on the fireplaces which were in 
each room. To tell the truth I was much more impressed by the 
size of the halls, they seemed so big for the size of the 
building from the outside, than by the furniture. I do believe 
that in this Greek Revival style part of the mansion Searles 
had the good taste not to detract from the feeling of grandeur 
in his great halls by cluttering them with furniture. At this 
time, in 19^0, nobody was living in the Pine Lodge wing of the 
mansion. The Rowlands lived in the Anpleside wing. A big piano, 
tall pipe organ, huge marble statues in every hall, and large 
Paintings on the walls; one of Washington crossing the Delaware, 
I think, is my impression of Pine Lodge, almost forty years ago. 

March 26, 1978 

You ask what season of the year it was when I went into the 
building, Pine Lodge, in 19^0. I can't recall, but it wasn't 
winter. It was warm but it wasn't summer, because I skipped 
school that day. I entered that part of the mansion that faced 
the half-timbered gate house that has beautifully carved atlantes 
holding up the projecting second story. That doorway I entered 
is now covered, and hidden, by the new building the nuns had 

March 31, 1978 

That view you sent me of Pine Lodge is taken looking north. 
I would have entered, back in 19^4-0, at the end on the left side 
of the photo. That end would be the oldest portion of the 
building; the original house Where Prank Searles was born. 
No, I wasn't afraid one of the workmen might lock me inside. 
I was too entranced by the adventure of being inside Pine Lodge 
to be afraid. I left by the same door that I entered; nobody 
saw me leave. I never told a soul, as it would have been 
admitting skipping school that day. 

I know the view you describe of the red sandstone chapel 
from the High School. Prom there it looks so untouchable, 
so storybook. 

Yes, school boys did cross Searles' wall; Tom Dorsey did, 
not knowing Searles spied him from within. When he asked Tom 
how he managed to get in, and Tom pointed out where, and how, 
Searles said, "Well, you go back out the same way you came in." 

April 11, 1978 

There is some mistake about Dorsey loaning me a Searles 
scrapbook. He never had it. It was Walter G-lidden, Searles' 
youngest, and most favored employee at Pine Lodge, who lent 
it to me. 

- 3 - 

Pine Lodge 

March 12, 1979 

It is a fact that although Searles owned automobiles, he 
always used horse and buggy on his rides from Pine Lodge 
through Highfield, and across Stillwater. 

October 21, 1979 ■ 

No, the book I saw on the art treasures of Pine Lodge 
had no illustrations; only a listing of the art works, as I recall. 

Yes, when I brought the copy of my abridged Searles story 
to the nuns occupying Pine Lodge they gave me, and Dorsey, a 
tour, from one side of the place to the other, but not at all 
every room. Even then I never really satisfied myself about 
Pine Lodge's interiors, and I was never inside the Windham castle. 

May 10, I960 

I have a group photo of seven men, one of them my great- 
grandfather, on a staging in work clothes as masons, at the time 
of the construction of the gabled building directly behind the fourth 
elm at the left hand side of the copy photo you sent me showing the 
entrance to Pine Lodge, at the junction of old East Street and 
Lawrence Street. That building housed the huge boiler to heat the 
mansion. My great-grandfather, a French Canadian, could not speak 
English. It is a very clear photo showing the building yet without 
its roof. One of the men in the photo, young then, I knew later in 
life as an old man when he was the town dog catcher; a Mr. Dudley. 

June 22, 1980 

In the photo ( that I'm sending you, and please return ) of 
the building my great-grandfather was working on, the Pine Lodge 
boiler room; Dudley is at the far left, and Edward Ottot, my 
ancestor, is the man second from the right, who turned as the 
picture was being taken. 

January 28, 198l 

Of course I do remember statues, huge marble statues, in 
that marble -columned hall, on that dreamlike day so long ago. 
Although, at the time, I didn't know what dimension the word 
"heroic" signified, now that I do know, those statues I saw, 
all alone in that hall, age fourteen, were definetely heroic! 
I was very impressed with those statues, their size was part 
of the grandeur of the overall impression the many rooms and 
shiny marble floors gave me. That fourteen year old boy had 
never even seen the inside of a museum, nor ever before been 
inside a millionaire's palace. What did it feel like standing 
there looking up at those statues, over forty years ago? I 
felt nriviledged to be there, as though I was destined to be 
there, a part of it. The same as I felt when I slipped into 

- k - 

Pine Lodge 

January 28, 198l - continued 

the Searles Organ Hall a year earlier, or later, and sat down on 
a bench at the back and listened, enraptured, while a group of a 
half-dozen artists played the organ and grand piano for over an 
hour. And when one asked another who is that boy, me, and the 
other shrugged, and yet no one said to leave, and I knew they 
wouldn't because I was destined to be a part of their culture; 
a kinsman. Anyhow, that's how I felt that day looking up at 
those huge marble statues, as though I belonged there, a part 
of that class. 

December 31, 1982 

I don't know if those rooms that I found cluttered with 
antiques and books, when I trespassed into the building at 
age fourteen, were still there when Walter Grlidden brought me 
in at age nineteen because he didn't bring me into that same 
area, but rather through the marble halls with all the heroic 
statuary and huge ornate marble fireplaces. No, G-lidden made 
no comment on the art collection as we walked; remember, he 
was a farmer. If those things of beauty impressed him he gave 
no verbal indication of it to me. 

How long did I spend wandering through the building at 
age fourteen, when the contractor doing the repairs voiced the 
thought to an associate that I must be the son of one of the 
workmen? Perhaps two hours. Did I realize from the dust on 
the furniture, as you say I wrote in my library manuscript, 
that no one was living in that wing? Yes, it was obvious from 
the way things were packed in boxes, and stored on shelves, and 
lying on top of each other in every room, that there wasn't 
any space for anyone to be living in there. 

Yes, at age fourteen, I explored every room I could find, 
expecting at every moment to be ordered out of the building. 

Did I skip school especially to go there? No, until I 
arrived there I had no idea repairs were being done, and that 
there was, because of that, an open door. I probably walked 
onto the grounds because every boy in town was awed sick over 
that huge, mysterious old mansion. No, I didn't have to climb 
over any wall because the gate was open for the workmen. 

- 5 - 


November 28, 1977 

You will love Stillwater on Pond Street when you see it; 
it was always my favorite Searles place, and I spent more time 
wandering around the woodlands there, near the house, than any 
other place. 

December 13, 1977 

Two years ago, when I visited Oak Hill, in New Hampshire, 
near Stillwater, I wanted to ask if they would sell it, whoever 
owns it. That entire area still fascinates me. After crossing 
the state line into New Hampshire, take your right onto Pond 
Street. Almost immediately you will see the entrance to Oak Hill, 
and farther down the road, on your right, Stillwater. 

January 2, 1978 

If you follow the stone wall up Lawrence Street to Park 
Street, then up Park to Pleasant, to Searles 1 boundary with the 
Tenney estate, pass that until you come to what used to be Searles" 
land again, still on Pleasant Street, called Highfield, he could 
cross Pleasant Street there, to land on the other side of the street 
which also belonged to him, and on which he could ride through the 
woods straight to Stillwater, entirely on his own land. Discounting 
the interval on Pleasant Street, however, he did in fact own land, 
without interruption, from Lawrence Street to Stillwater. 

March 5, 1978 

Why do I like Oak Hill? Stillwater? Their seclusion, their 
solid structure appearance, the obvious wealth it took to build 
them; a desire to own them, envy, yearning to be rich, to be 
somebody. All this is associated with love of great buildings. 

September 18, 1978 

Smaller, but fascinating Searles buildings, are Westmoreland, 
with its dovecotes, and at the extreme other end of Lawrence Road, 
in Salem, New Hampshire, Crowmont, also with the typical dovecotes; 
a Searlesian florish. The first entrance gate on the left, going 
down Pond Street, leads one to Searles* Oak Hill. 

January 20, 1979 

The Houston family, at Stillwater, were the source of my 
information. They worked for Searles and told me the names of 
his various properties at Stillwater, such as Westmoreland and 

Yes, that lodge I described as a cerf's dwelling is across 
the road from Stillwater manor; just to the west of the manor 
and across the road. 

- 6 - 

January 20, 1979 - continued 

Crowmont is located at the end of the wall on Lawrence Road. 
The father of the man who owns the junk cap lot lived there for 
decades, and owned all the land behind that wall; Abdul Fary. 

March 12, 1979 

It is a fact that although Searles owned a car he always 
used horse and buggy on his rides through Highfield and across 

When I cycled down that road, Searles' private road, all 
alone, I transported myself into Searles' body and mind by intense 
thought transfer. For all practical purposes, in those moods of 
self -hypnosis, I swear I was Searles. I was him; I was in my 
buggy riding down that peaceful road. The summer day was warm 
and pleasant and I was hardly aware of Salter G-lidden holding 
the reins sitting beside me. And the spell ended, and I was 
myself again, laboring over the pedals on my bicycle. I stopped, 
sat on a rock and rested, over thirty years ago. 

April 18, 1979 

When I was researching Stillwater I got inside the mansion 
for about two minutes. I was impressed but, at this time, I 
can't recall anything. In the late 19i|-0s only Charlie Budrun's 
family lived there. 

- 7 - 

Stanton Harcourt 

January 2, 1978 

No, I never had the opportunity to see the inside of the 
Stanton Harcourt place in ray life. Yes, Frank Andrew owned it 
during those years that I was doing my research; 1914-5 to 19J-J-8. 
The time I spent at Stanton Harcourt was in interviewing all 
those, still there., who knew Searles. They told me that the 
castle was locked and empty, and I couldn't carry it any farther 
than that at the time. 

Morrison Lodge was, and I would guess still is, on the level 
land below Stanton Harcourt, in Windham; a part of Searles 1 
grounds; an old house, predating the castle itself. Where I 
interviewed Dr. Morrison's widow. 

January 20, 1979 

No, I never visited the place after the nuns bought it from 
Prank Andrew in 195>2. 

April 18, 1979 

Yes, Prank Andrew, the real estate man, gave me the real 
estate brochure on the Stanton Harcourt property. 

May 10, 1980 

During my interviewing days at Stanton Harcourt Dr. 
Morrison's widow gave me quite a bit of information. 

December 31, 1982 

Yes, the caretakers at Stanton Harcourt allowed me to 
walk uphill to the castle, when I was nineteen years old, 
in 1945* They referred to the castle as "a pile of stones 
on top of the hill". 

- 8 - 

Flaming Towers ( Carving from Pine Lodge ) 

January 2, 1978 

I have a wodd carving, about twenty inches by twenty inches, 
of the Stanton Harcourt burning towers crest, taken from the 
dismantled portion of Bine Lodge. Tom Dorsey gave it to me. 

October 8, 1978 • 

Somewhere, way back in my days of researching Searles, I 
found a ±orj about that design that Searles adopted; the one 
showing the towers with flames between them. On one tower there 
is a woman, and on the other a man. The story went that this 
represented neighboring castles. The knight of one fell in love 
with the damsel of the other, and it caused a fued and the fire. 
That's all I can remember. Anyway, I have just finished putting 
that carving on the front of a sideboard I made, and I wanted to 
get the story straight. Do you have the correct version? 

January 20, 1979 

I used that same carved panel, that Dorsey gave me, as the 
door to the sideboard. It took ages to build. I'm impressed 
by the design of the carving; it fascinates me! 

April 18, 1979 

My story, that rivals lived in neighboring castles, and 
that a fued, and castle burning, resulted, was found written 
out quite dogmatically. I could have read it in the Searles 
genealogy book, and I think the library has a copy. Searles 
had his family tree searched and printed elaborately, big 
glossy pages, and filled with illustrations. 

October 21, 1979 

Walter G-lidden didn't lend me the Searles genealogy book; 
I recall that I saw it at Nevins Library; but it could have 
been the Boston Public Library. 

I have just compared the flaming towers photo I received 
from you today with the carving from Pine Lodge, twenty by 
eighteen inches, that Dorsey gave me, and I am amazed to see 
that they are not the same. While my bas-relief carving has 
no door whatever, on ground level or anywhere for that matter, 
your photo omits the figures of the knight and damsel in mine. 

November 20, 1979 

I can't remember where I heard the story, or read it. 
It could have been somebody like Walter Glidden, or it might 
have been Judge Cox or his wife, as they were close to Prank. 

- 9 - 

Flaming Towers ( Carvings from Pine Lodge ) 

November 20, 1979 - continued 

My carving came from the small demolished portion at the 
very southernmost wing of Pine Lodge; the other end to Appleside. 
Tom Dorsey bought it off the wreckers and gave it to me. 

I wasn't sure that the tower figures would show up in the 
photo, I send, taken with my old camera. So I used white chalk 
to outline the areas. Wow, after printing, I see there was no 
need for the chalk as the figures are quite discernable. While 
the damsel is in a window, the knight is in bas-relief affixed 
to the tower wall. I hone this sort of confirms that the legend 
is not a figment of my imagination. 

January 3, 1980 

My flaming towers panel is made of carved wood. The carving 
was painted grey; that's why it looks like plaster in my photo. 
I framed the panel into the form of a door and mounted it onto 
the front of the sideboard that I built. 

My Medford Street house had the Searles carvings above the 
doors, the carvings Tom Dorsey gave to me, but which I burned 
in a mad fit when I sickened of all scholastic writing. 

May 10, 1980 

That paragraph, from the Ruth Barnard papers, was fascinating. 
I had never heard it before, and that is not the story I heard. * 
But it is becomming more obvious how the story went. I feel that 
somewhere in either the Stanton, or Harcourt, genealogies there 
must me a detailed account of the burning towers story. 'The 
Boston Public Library has a fine genealogical collection. I am 
wondering if you could check it out. 

July Ik, 1980 

Thanks for the Boston Library copies oh the burning towers 
story from the Harcourt genealogy. I'm going to type up the 
details and attach them to my burning towers door. That sure is 
fascinating material that you found in the one available book! * 
I've read it three times already. I still don't know where I 
got my story, but I'm sure it /was that the families were feuding, 
then the romance, its discovery, the vengeance battle and the fire. 

NOTE: - See APPENDIX for the material I had sent to Ray Premmer 

- 10 - 

Great Barrington 

November 28, 1977 

Yes, I too was unusually impressed by Great Barrington 
when I first saw it thirty years ago. I guess I must be getting 
old when I realize that I have forgotten just how Kellogg Terrace 
fits into the Searles picture, and know that I used to know. I 
am sure that it was a part of Mrs. Hopkins' early life, but 
exactly where in her life I am not sure. 

January 2, 1978 

My brief visit to Barrington House is so dim in my memory 
now that it is difficult to recall. 

- 11 - 

Irving and Gasson Go. - Interior Decorators 

January 20, 1979 

I found Lewis Brown, of Irving and Gasson, through 
Searles' head caretaker, Walter G-lidden. He told me and 
I met Brown at the factory before it folded up. 

May 10, 1980 

Irving and Gasson Company, Searles' interior decorators, 
had a factory in Cambridge. While at Tufts University working 
on Searles I visited there, and was sent up to the top floor to 
the woodcarvers and actually talked to some of the older hands 
who recalled working at Pine Lodge. It was a marvelous loft 
filled with intricate carvings scattered all over the place, 
and hanging from the ceilings. But when I had returned 
twenty-five, or more, years later, in the early 1970s, they 
had gone out of business, the building was up for sale, the 
loft all but empty, and only one former employee still there 
as watchman. At first hostile, he quickly warmed up and told 
me some interesting stories about huge mansions upon which he 
had worked. 

March 17, 198l 

In 1975* while in the Boston area, I visited once more, 
after an interval of twenty-seven years, the Irving and Casson 
interior decorating factory where all the Searles carvings 
were done; at Lechmere, Cambridge. An empty building, except 
for a watchman. He let me browse through. On the top floor, 
where I interviewed the old woodcarvers so long ago, only 
ghosts, emptiness, and silence. It is a huge building, maybe 
six floors, old brick. On one floor I found a beautiful piece 
of genuine leather, in green, for upholstering a piece of 
furniture. I offered to buy it, but he gave it to me. Just 
last week I upholstered an antique chair with it, and it looks 
good enough for Searles himself, believe me J There was only 
one piece of carving left there, on loan to a flower shop on 
the ground floor, from the watchman who claimed ownership. 
It was a huge oak wall panel, with the most intricately carved 
pheasants on it. You can't miss the building. It is just a 
stone's throw from the Lechmere rapid transit to Boston station, 
and the name, "Irving and Casson Company", is still there high 
up on the side of the brick building. 

NOTE: The 'flower shop' mentioned above, was . . . 
The Plantery, at 2£ First Street, Cambridge 

- 12 - 

Tenney Castle 

March 26, 1978 

Your news, at least news to me, that the Tenney Castle 
burned last April, comes as a shock to mei The end of a dream 
since childhood. Even as a six year-old I can remember walking 
up the hill to that castle, so entranced by the grandeur of it. 
Then, years later, climbing the castle's tower, to its cupola, 
and seeing my own grandfather's name carved up there, where he 
had put it in 191^4-, when he painted the castle. He was the 
town's best and most sought-after house painter. Prom that time 
I daydreamed of owning it one day. Then, years later, I saw it 
empty and for sale, and dreamed of marrying a rich widow to buy 
it for me. Well, that dream has now ended. 

May 26, 1978 

Those photos of Tenney 's castle you sent tear my heart out. 
How could anyone live, who would burn a roof like that.' 

July 18, 1978 

I was fascinated by the photos you sent of Tenney' s castle 
in ruins, and it sets my mind to dream of fixing it up. 

September 18, 1978 

Your photos of the ruins are very nice, and show so much 
left. Who wouldn't be proud to own such a magnificent pile 
of stone. I would] 

October 21, 1979 

For me it started at age six, or seven, when the ten year-old 
boy next door took me with him one day to bring his father his 
lunch, where he worked at Tenney 's estate, circa 1932. Walking 
that long driveway with him, from High Street up to the castle, 
and being awed by all the exotic -looking imported trees, and 
the monstrous barking dogs, barking down at us behind the castle, 
as we approached from the back, burned indelibly into me because 
of my size; so small compared to the driveway, the unusual trees, 
the dogs, and the castle. Because things seem bigger to a little 
kid, I received an unrealistic introduction to what would become 
important in my life. Prom that time, nothing was as important 
to me as long driveways, beautiful trees, and castles] 

July 11, 1981 

After Tufts University dismissed me I was sort of a misfit 
for years. I didn't have the money for a car, and couldn't drive 
anyhow; and so rode everywhere on an English Raleigh bicycle, 
much to the dismay of my mother who said I was in my second 
childhood, at the age of twenty-three, in 191+9. I visited her 

- 13 - 

Tenney Castle 

July 11, 1981 - continued 

less, and spent most of ray time at the small house out in the 
country, which I built when I was twenty-one, in 191+7. Anyhow, 
not working, and riding a bicycle, and frequenting the river 
swimming hole daily, as a rebound tack to nature from the dry 
academic life of the university, I fell in, incongrously, with 
others who, like me, were not working, riding bicycles, and 
frequenting the swimming hole; boys around sixteen years old. 
Well, I suppose it looked bad, but as a rebel I didn't care, or 
what others said or thought. I was doing what I wanted to do, 
and that was all that mattered. In the dead bitter cold of 
winter I would slink back to my folks * house to keep warm, but 
my father resented what he thought was my superior university- 
fostered attitude and I was soon back at my little house 
everytime, freezing or not. Anyhow, again, one of those 
teenagers told me about the building they called "The Lodge", 
that resembled a European hunting lodge, on the Tenney estate, 
and how, while sledding near it he, and others, had discovered 
an open window and had gone inside. At that time the Tenneys 
still owned the estate but rarely visited it. Bicycling the 
three miles daily, from my little house to the river on the 
outskirts of town, I always stared at that building over the 
stone wall as I peddled. This boy, nine years my junior, enticed 
me to go with him to the building, saying that Mr. Monroe, the 
caretaker, never bothered them while they were sledding there. 
I couldn't resist; danger of getting caught or not. All the 
downstairs windows were locked, but climbing to an upstairs 
window I went in, down the stairs and let in my friend. Well, 
this episode sticks more in my memory than my excursion into 
Pine Lodge, probably because we took a few little ornaments out 
of a china cabinet. How he knew where the key to that cabinet 
was hidden, by Monroe, I'll never know. I can still see the 
gilt-edged cup and saucer marked, "Honi Soit Qui Mai Y Pense". 
that I took, and the cluster of little brass bells that Jim took. 
We explored every room.' It had a big hall in the center, and 
bedrooms off the passageway upstairs. The empty building, the 
stealthy entry, the fear of anyone catching us, and the beautiful 
things in that cabinet, linger in my mind still. Suddenly, I now 
remember the deer heads mounted high up on the walls of that hall, 
and that was thirty years ago I The rich are so rich, and their 
things are so nice. Taking that cup and saucer, petty theft or 
not, made me feel a kinship with the rich every time I looked 
at it in my lonely little house. 

NOTE: "Honi Soit Qui Mai Y Pense" - Motto of the British 
Order of the Garter. 
Definition: "Shamed be he who thinks evil of it." 

- Ik - 

Serlo Organ Hall and Factory 

March 5, 1978 

If I could hear the blasting cords of the Methuen organ 
again I would want so much to have it from one of those great 
old boys whose busts Searles had placed in the walls of the 
testing hall in the Methuen organ factory; busts which I saw 
as a fourteen year-old, filled with awe, entranced with dreams 
of splendor, wealth, and being somebody more than a mill rat's 

October 21, 1979 

I will tell you of my adventures in that old organ factory, 
almost forty years ago, but understand that is was not as aarich 
man's son on a spree; it was someone from skidrow aggressively 
trying to climb out of that situation by taking what he could 
out of an old building that fairly reeked of the millionaire's 
money that went into the fantastic interior decorations of the 
shabby old woolen mill the exterior appeared to be, and for 
which it had originally been built. 

I knocked on the back door and I asked the man if I could 
have the two-wheeled cart, and the elegant pieces of quartered 
oak that had been thrown into the cellar hole out behind the 
factory. He brought me up onto the third floor, to an old man 
with white hair way down over his ears; and this man who made 
the organs there, Ernest M. Skinner himself, left his work and 
came all the way downstairs to see what this little boy wantedj 
He said, "You can take the cart, but we need the boards." I 
was age nine, the year, 1935. Three years later he was bankrupt, 
and locked out of the building. 

In the dead of winter we heard the news; it spread around 
the wrong side of the tracks like wildfire, even to my ears, 
age thirteen: you can get into the organ factory through a 
cellar window, and there's nobody there now, nobody owns it now, 
and they've all gone away forever, and you can take whatever 
you want, and it's all free! 

Gosh, it was dark looking down into that cellar. Who'll 
go down and run up the stairs and open the back door for the 
gang? No volunteers; nobody had reason enough to be brave enough 
except one, me J I had to have part of the millionaire's 
trappings that are in there, to help me get away from skidrow. 
Smart guy, after everyone is inside I close the door and lock it, 
to give us time and to slow down the opposition. Now Ilm in a 
millionaire's factory; many of whose rooms resemble a millionaire's 
mansion. Grab, Ray, grab while you can; what you see here is 
money, riches, a way out of poverty. Only I thought these thoughts; 
the others went their own way, doing what I don't know. I found 
ingots three inches in diameter and three inches tall, with a lip, 
like a top hat resting on its top, but heavy as lead. I thought 
they were lead, and that I could sell them. So I drooped as many 

- 15 - 

Serlo Organ Hall and Factory 

October 21, 1979 - continued 

as I could find out the back window into the snow. They later 
turned out to be pure tin, worth many more times the price of 
lead; they were used in making the organ pipes. The closest I 
got to a millionaire's mansion, that could be taken, was way 
up in the attic on the third floor, under the roof. There was 
an old, abandoned, quartered oak carved organ facade; a really 
beautiful piece of woodwork] I had to have that if nothing 
else; it would make me somebody special, not just a mill rat's 
son. I remember somebody was there with me in the attic. I 
think it was Georgie White. As I opened the attic window he 
scoffed, "You can't take that. It'll break when you drop it, 
and how will you carry it home?" It was sort of a palladian- 
designed piece, with heavily-carved moulding around the three 
openings; the three arches of which terminated in hand carved 
acanthus leaves. It easily came apart into three pieces. 
With difficulty I managed to get each of them through the 
window. I can still see the dark pieces of splendid woodwork 
silhouetted against the dazzling white snow as they left my 
grasp and dropped down silently, effortlessly, down onto the 
soft snow. And Searles whispered to me so that I alone could 
hear, "Son, take these things that were mine, for your own, and 
be as rich as me foreverj" And I was afraid that the people in 
the houses far away, across the river, way up on Union Street, 
could see me - taking Searles' things and would call the police. 
To fail now pounded in my brain. I must work faster; I am not 
here on a child's adventure like the rest of them. I have come 
to take part of the wealth that Searles took from that old 
woman, Mrs. Hopkins, and I must succeed] 

The fabulous medieval paintings, a triptych; panels two-feet 
by four-feet, leaning against a wall in a store room on the 
third floor, just above the roof of the columned portico facing 
Broadway, I left behind to be burned to ashes the following 
year, alas. As I examined the ancient wooden panels, an inch 
thick, my eyes slipped to the cars moving up and down Broadway, 
so far below me, and I marvelled at the vast difference between 
the world I now found myself in and the world of the people in 
those cars. The ancient paint must have been good paint; the 
colors were still strong. The manSs face looked so real; you 
could almost feel his beard. 

The busts of Mozart and Bach and Beethoven, way up in 
niches on the walls of the awe-inspiring paneled organ test hall, 
would have to wait until another day. Likewise, the glittering, 
thousand-nrismed chandelier. After all, this was my first 
attack on the mighty millionaire's fortress, and at age thirteen 
it's one sten at a time. The carved orpan facade must get home 
first. By a miracle our trespass had gone undiscovered; we were 
out the back door of the building and struggling madly through 
the deep snow without a single, "Stop thief J", and heading for 

- 16 - 

Serlo Organ Hall and Factory- 
October 21, 1979 - continued 

the frozen river. Once across the solid ice, up the fifty-foot 
embankment, and onto Union Street, we breathed more easily at 
last; successful, accomplished rebels against the richj 

By four o'clock in the afternoon in Methuen, Massachusetts, 
in the dead of winter, it is getting dark. And I waited, alone, 
with my sled, at the edge of the ice on the far side of the 
river. As the dusk deepened I headed across; the five-foot long 
big-boy's size sled in tow. If anyone in the houses up on Union 
Street, or in the American Legion building directly across from 
the organ factory, saw me now they would only think that I was 
on my way home from play. I loaded the panels and the ingots, 
feeling tiny beside the huge old building, and so alone in the 
white stillness, with the night smothering down. Crossing the 
river ice elation overcame me, bursting my brain, like Richard 
the Lion Hearted coming home with the spoils of war. The 
following summer saw my millionaire's carved oak panels installed 
in the five by twelve foot retreat I had built for myself in the 
back yard, and I was on the road to owning my own mansioni 

November 20, 1979 

No, my father never questioned me about the organ panels 
because I never showed them to anyone. When later, I returned 
from the Navy, and turned twenty-one, and my folks moved and I 
bought a lot of my own, I tore down my little retreat and brought 
all the material, including the panels, to my own lot at the edge 
of town on Medford Street. Prom there the whereabouts, or destiny 
of those carved oak acanthus leaves and heavy mouldings, and 
quartered oak polished panels, and fluted columns supporting the 
arches, escapes me. 

December 31, 1982 

Did my trespass at the age of thirteen, or fourteen, into 
the locked old organ factory cover a period of years, or a brief 
time? Just that one time I believe. Although, after forty- two 
years, I admit that I'm not sure if I went in there once or twice. 
Yes, I guess I did go back. My junkman friend, Arthur McKenzie, 
told me that the ingots I brought to him, thinking they were lead, 
were not lead at all but very valuable block tin used in making 
the organ pipes. I vaguely think I went back to gather as many 
more ingots as I could find, on a workbench on the third floor. 
My greatest regret, to this day, is that I left behind the most 
valuable thing of all in that immense old building; the priceless 
medieval painting, on wooden panels, I discovered in an attic loft. 
Along with everything else, that art treasure Searles collected on 
his many buying sprees in Europe, went up in flames when the 
factory burned several years after my trespass. 

- 17 - 

G-oodspeeds Book Store - Milk St. Boston 

January 2, 1978 

When Ben Rowland sold off, as a lot, a room full of books 
to Goodspeeds in Boston, and I discovered, by chance, the lot 
at Goodspeeds, and, for instance, one book in that lot had been 
given to Searles by his Sunday School teacher, and I wrote it 
ud in the Lawrence Evening Tribune, only then did Ben make 
contact to say that he wanted the book back. 

March 26, 1978 

Yes, you deduced correctly that Searles drew sketches on 
the end pages of books he was reading, for building additions. 
I discovered that from the books I bought at Goodspeeds. They 
were done in pencil, and I remember thinking that they were 
quite well done. I have no idea what I did with any of those 
books, other than the one I gave to Tom Dorsey, which :-he gave 
back to Ben Rowland. 

October 21, 1979 

Yes, that discovery at Goodspeeds, a hundred years ago it 
seems, was pure luck! It was just by chance that I happened to 
go in there when all those books Ben Rowland sold them were 
stacked out on the tables by the hundreds. All those books on 
the very large tables had just been classified as "junk", and 
were on their way outside to the "ten cents-a- book" shelves. 
The man said to pick out what I wanted, at ten cents each. I 
might have selected a half-dozen books. I only took the ones 
I took because of the personal inscriptions, in ink, like the 
one given as a present to Searles from his Sunday School teacher. 

January 3, 1980 

The Searles books, at Goodspeeds, had his bookplates. 
I referred to the books as "junk" because they were the books 
they didn't want; thought they couldn't sell easily. They 
covered a table twenty feet long by four feet wide. The manager 
said, before I started looking through them, that there wasn't 
much of anything in those on the table. What there was in the 
ones they had selected out of the lot, that wasn't on the table 
I don't know. Surely the ones they had selected would have been 
the more expensive books; large size books, first editions, rare 
books, and art books with large engravings or prints suitable 
for framing. The books on the table were not in bad condition, 
just not of great interest in content. He said they were going 
to be put outside on the ten cents-a-book shelves. The ones I 
selected were for the sake of the personal inscriptions written 
on the flyleaves. I cannot recall what the bookplate was like. 

- 18 - 

Arthur McKenzie - Scrap Dealer 

November 20, 1979 

Later I took those ingots to ray favorite scrap dealer, 
Max Silverman, The next day I told my mentor in the business, 
sort of my adopted father, Arthur McKenzie. He was furious 
and told me that I had made a horrible blunder; that those 
were not lead, as I thought, but block tin. That I must go 
straight back to Max in nearby Lawrence, tell him that my 
mother was very upset and that I was under the legal agesto 
sell them; here's your money back, give me back my lead] 
I got them back, as directed, and Arthur gave me four times, 
or ten times the price of lead, as he promised he would, 

December 31, 1982 

My junkman friend, Arthur McKenzie, told me that the 
ingots were not lead at all, but very valuable block tin 
used in making the organ pipes. 

Yes, I'm in the salvage business here on the island; 
it's the source of my income. Sort of a legacy, you might 
say, from my old mentor in the profession, Arthur McKenzie. 

- 19 - 

Walter Glidden - Pine Lodge Caretaker 

November 28, 1977 

Walter Glidden, a country boy caretaker, who obediently 
listened to Searles play on the organ whenever loneliness 
closed in on him. 

April 11, 1978 

There is some confusion about Tom Dorsey loaning me a 
Searles scrapbook. Tom never had it. It was Walter Glidden, 
Searles' youngest and most favored employee at Pine Lodge, 
who lent it to me. 

May 8, 1973 

Walter Glidden was not a young man when I knew him. I 
meant that he was the youngest employee Searles had, and that 
he was favored because he along was singled out to sit and 
listen to Searles play his mood music. All the employees came 
from the same part of Maine. Searles chose Salter for his 
audience when he felt lonely, and wanted company while he 
played on those great instruments at Pine Lodge. In fact, 
Walter was not an old man either when I knew him. He may 
possibly have been around sixty when I met him. 

January 20, 1979 

I found Lewis Brown, of Irving and Casson, through 
Searles' head caretaker, Walter Glidden. He told me and 
I met Brown at the factory before it folded up. 

October 21, 1979 

I approached Walter Glidden and I just told him I was 
writing on Searles and asked him if he would talk to me, as 
he was the head caretaker and lived on the place. On his own 
initiative he showed me through the unoccupied southern ell 
of Pine Lodge; not the Apple side end where his boss, Rowland, 
lived. At that time there were signs reading, "Keep Out", but 
I was going to Walter Glidden with a legitimate purpose and I 
walked past the sign to his house, and he greeted my warmly 
and appointed a time, after working hours, for me to return for 
an interview; of which there were several. Walter was no crumb, 
he treated everyone fairly. It was Walter who took me into the 
mansion, but not the crypt where Searles was interred. Somehow 
Tom Dorsey got permission on that and he, and I, went in there 
and explored that beautiful little red sandstone chapel from 
too to bottom. I believe Dorsey got the key from the nuns. 

December 31, 1982 

You ask if Walter Glidden, Rowland's caretaker for Searles' 
estate, waited for a day when Rowland was away, to show me 

- 20 - 

Walter G-lidden - Pine Lodge Caretaker 

December 31, 1982 - continued 

through the unused wing. No, that wing is so far away from the 
section in which Rowland lived that he would not have had the 
slightest idea that we were in there. Anyhow, Glidden had that 
privilege; remember he worked for Searles long before Rowland 
was born. I don't know if those rooms that I found cluttered 
with antiques and books, when I trespassed into the building 
at age fourteen, were still there when Glidden brought me in at 
age nineteen because he didn't bring me into that same area, 
but rather through the marble halls with all the heroic statuary 
and huge ornate marble fireplaces. No, Glidden made no comment 
on the art collection as we walked; remember, he was a farmer. 
If those things of beauty impressed him he gave no verbal 
indication of it to me. 

- 21 - 

Judge Cox 

November 28, 1977 

Judge Cox's wife, who knew Searles on his own social level. 

November 20, 1979 

I can't remember where I heard the story ( flaming towers ) 
or read it. It might have been Judge Cox, or his wife, as they 
were close to Prank. 

January 3, 1980 

Prom boyhood Searles was called "Prank". People alive 
during my years of research ( 19^-5 to 191+8 ), who knew him 
personally, like Judge Cox, called him "Prank." 

July Ik, 1980 

Though I talked with Judge Cox's wife for hours, I never 
saw her in the flesh, and this talking by the hour on the phone 
infuriated my father. She just would not see me, though she 
liked me and would not leave the phone until my father got 
furious. She must have been very shy. But I am sure, when the 
judge had me down to the house for an interview with him one 
evening, she must have been peeking at me out of some dark corner 
somewhere, all during the time I was there. They were both 
wonderful to me in the amount of time and wonderful details they 
gave me. 

- 22 - 

Charles W. Mann 

December 13, 1977 

I have to explain that the subject of the Manns is rather 
emotionally charged for me. The »W» , in Charles ¥. Mann, stands 
for Warren, and they called their son, Charles W. Mann III, 
Warren, so as not to confuse father with son. Well, barren was 
one of the few friends I had in Methuen, until his death under 
tragic circumstances. This death seemed so unacceptable to me, 
so wrong for someone who had so much to live for; an only son, 
just married, future assured. I never went back there again.' 

June 19, 1978 

I was researching Searles long before I knew Warren. I was 
seated in their living room and given full access to everything 
they had. It was then that Helen Mann, Warren's mother, had 
discovered the old friendship between her mother and my grand- 
mother. Warren and I became close friends.' He was their only 
son. So careful, never drove fast, so respectful. Then the 
Army, the automobile accident with other soldiers in the car, 
and death; the third of the same name, would have inherited so 
much, and died so young J Charles W. Mann I, Warren's grandfather, 
worked for Searles, selling him all his stone. 

July 18, 1978 

The quarry that old Charles W. Mann worked for all of the 
granite that Searles used in his building projects, was in 
Pelham, New Hampshire; a very impressive hole, now filled with 
water. I loved to swim there. Charles Warren Mann III and I 
used to go for a swim there after work. It is now owned by 
Mr. and Mrs. P. D. Bedard, Route 2, Box 3^9, Pelham, N.H. 03076 

- 23 - 

Arthur T. Walker 

January 2, 1978 

I never spent one minute researching Walker. Yes, I knew 
Prank Andrew well enough; he lived on Pleasant Street. Every 
day on my way home I saw him sitting in his living room reading 
his newspaper. I interviewed him on Searles. He knew Searles, 
and after his death handled all the Searles property sales for 
Walker, and later for Walker's heirs in Canada. 

*OTE: Arthur T. Walker died at Stanton Harcourt, in Windham, 
on Sunday, August 7th, 1927. He is buried in his home 
town of Chatham, Ontario, at Maple Leaf Cemetery. 

- 2k - 
Angelo Ellison - "Angy" 

November 28, 1977 

Angy never told me if he inherited more than Searles 1 
will left him. Prom my hours of research I doubt very much 
that Walker ever passed a cent more to Angy than what the 
will stated. Walker's lawyers successfully withstood Angy's 
attempts to break the will. Though there was a clause in the 
will that if anyone tried to break it, his share would forfeit, 
I believe Angy told me he still received his $10,000. 

In Yonkers, after lunch, when Angy was showing me all 
these priceless old photos of Searles and his mansions, etc., 
in two or three old albums, through which I was thumbing, as 
he had offered to loan me whatever I wanted, I turned a page 
to what I can only describe as a remarkable photo of a handsome 
young man. When I asked who it was, Angy said it was himself 
when he first met Searles, and that was the only photo he would 
not loan me. The man with whom I had lunch was bald, with a 
long face, and a large nose; yet the man and the youth in the 
photo was the same person. 

January 2, 1978 

True, Angy did see that I was sincere. Though I did not 
drive at the time, he saw that I found transport from Methuen 
to his door, so keen was my interest. 

You're right, Angy did set himself up in business. He 
was a partner in a Chevrolet dealership, and I met him in the 
showroom and then we went to lunch. My impressions: a very 
warm person, easy to talk to, no pretense, straight and lean, 
a family man, long face, big nose, bald or balding, the face 
of an old Greek, a very nice guy. No, he never told me that he 
ever visited Methuen, I don't think. I'm not sure now; that's 
over thirty years ago. But I do remember that people in the 
Stanton Hare our t grounds, who knew both him and Searles, said 
he visited them. In fact, he sent them Christmas cards every 
year. They gave me his address in Yonkers, New York. But I 
can't remember just who now. It could have been Dr. Morrison's 
widow. And to think that last October I was within ten miles 
of Yonkers, on a trip to an antique shop that proved fruitless. 
Incredibly, at that time, I had the impulse to go on to Yonkers 
to see if Angy was still alive, but I returned to New York for 
more pressing business. It's strange that your first letter 
arrived when it did, as I had only been back on the island a 
week, after a three-month's absence in Europe, New York, and 

March 31, 1978 

You ask how I got to Angy. Let me think; that was about 
thirty years ago, imagine J I can't remember how I got to 

- 2£ - 

Angelo Ellison - "Angy" 
March 11, 1978 - continued 

New York City, but I know that I went there first. I didn't fly, 
so it was either by bus or train. There, in the Hall of Records, 
the transcript of the trial trying to break the will was 
fascinating to me because of the chance to read letters actually 
written by Searles to Angy, that were copied into the transcript. 
I don't remember, either, how I got from New York City to Yonkers. 
It could have been by bus, or train, or hitchiking. I used to 
hitchike all over the U.S. and Canada! 

March 31, 1978 

I feel, even after all these years, a personal affection for 
Angy; not only because he was so kind to me, but also trusted me 
enough to lend me those wonderful photos for my book. 

July il8, 1978 

I met Angy in Yonkers, talked with him, ate with him, won 
his affection to the point where he loaned me a large number of 
photos that he had held as priceless since his youth, 

January 3, 1980 

No, Angy Ellison didn't tell me the flaming towers story. 
Whoever told me, told me about it because it was either there 
in front of us at the time, or a picture of it was in front of 
us. Neither of these conditions was there with Angy. No, I 
didn't stay overnight in Yonkers. I never went back to show 
him my manuscript, and I never wrote him of my progress. Yes, 
he was interested enough in what I was doing to lend me the 
photos, which I returned by mail, after copying them. 

November 8, 1980 

I've been sitting here trying to think which of all the 
people I interviewed about Searles was really the best, through 
being close to Searles, and it is a toss-up between Angy and 
Walter G-lidden. But Angy takes it J 

- 26 - 

Ray Fremraer 

November 28, 1977 

In twenty years maybe three or four people have written 
to me about Edward F. Searles. I was the first person to 
thoroughly research Searles, and at a time early enough to 
catch people still alive who knew himl When I say thoroughly 
research, I know that no one can catch every loose end of 
someone's life. What I mean is that I worked at researching 
thoroughly and long. I took a lot of trips and had that type 
of consuming curiosity that does end up with a lot of valuable 
vignettes of the man. No one before had cared that much, or 
had been willing to spend that much of their lives trying to 
learn something about Edward Searles. I'm not sorry. It was 
interesting, and I sincerely believe that I know Searles better 
than anyone now alive i I say this because I had been in touch 
with Angelo Ellison, the elevator boy, whom he befriended, 
Walter G-lidden, a country boy caretaker, who obediently listened 
to Searles play on the organ whenever loneliness closed in on 
him, Judge Cox's wife, who knew him on his own social level, and 
so on. 

Well, you're right, I did actually love the Searles places, 
and this love did show in my book. I was always a loner, so I 
guess I transferred my affection to those marvelous buildings. 
It was a perfect case of awe for grandeur, a product of poverty; 
not just yearning not to be poor, but trying desperately to know 
the grandeur of wealth, the homes of one wealthy man, by getting 
as close as possible to them, even inside of them. I think this 
odd misguided love of buildings came out, or came through, in 
what I wrote in that original 35,000-word paper on Searles. It 
is too bad that I can't locate either the hand-written, or typed 
cony, both of which I disposed of twenty years ago, or more, 
through Tom Dorsey, of Methuen, and he can't remember who got 
them. You're quite right; no one else on earth has given as 
much of their time, or life, to Searlesiana as I have J 

December 13, 1977 

No, I didn't save my original notes for my unabridged 
Searles book. I was so wearied by the work, and glad to have it 
all together in one readable version that I was happy to destroy 
the evidence of the toil and effort of the threshing about. 

What brought me to Jamaica? I'm going to be perfectly 
honest with you, at all costs; the lure of passionate romance 
in the heat of a lush tropical island! Did I find it? Oh yes, 
oh verily yes J No regrets. Am I an archeologist? I will allow 
you to answer that for yourself on the basis of the two pulls * 
from two different publications which I have enclosed for your 
own collection. No, I don't work for the Jamaican government as 
a rule, though the Morant Bay dig I did do for them. Last year 
I unearthed a wonderful selection of fifteenth and sixteenth 


- 27 - 

Ray Fremmer 

December 13, 1977 - Continued 

century Hafner ware in the cellar of the ruins of an old 
German castle, and I am still working on the restoration of 
the artifacts which I brought home with me. But most of my 
time, for the past fifteen years, has been spent restoring 
this eighteenth century mansion of mine, "Green Park". 

January 2, 1978 

My life is now wrapped up in the restoration of this old 
house. No, it's not really an historic house. The only thing 
historic about it is about forty feet from the front door, the 
tomb of Judge John Bradshaw, his lead coffin which I have 
unearthed. He was the chief judge who signed the death warrant 
for the beheading of King Charles I, of England. I have only 
eight acres of the original thirteen hundred, but the old houae 
is mine. It is a typical eighteenth century plantation house; 
large but not elaborate, and much neglected over the decades, 
call it abandoned, before I bought it. In fifteen years I have 
put thousands of man-hours into it, and now am filled with the 
fear that I may never complete it I 

Yes, the man you see in the archeological material that I 
send you is me. 

March 26, 1978 

Tom Dorsey wrote the article ( 1976 Bicentennial Methuen ) 
which you xeroxed and sent to me. The little cottage on Medford 
Street, which he mentioned, was the first house I had ever built, 
and incorporated parts of several different mansions; Nevins, 
Searles, Tenney, and Suttons, which I had saved over the years. 
The Maple Street house, the last one I reconstructed, before 
leaving for Jamaica, is all Nevins; moved on low-bed trailers 
by me in three pieces. 

April 15, 1978 

Nothing could make me leave Jamaica, it is in my blood. 
After fifteen years here, being entirely engrossed in restoring 
this old house, of 176I4., I now see what little progress I have 
made though I work at it religeously. 

In Methuen you have seen the Masonic Temple, built by 
Searles in memory of his father. I did a copper-plate 
etching of it while I was a student at the Boston Museum of 
Pine Arts, and I never kept the plate, or even a print. I gave 
Tom Dorsey one, and after seventeen years I have begged him for 
it, as last season, in Europe, I discovered that my own ancestors 
were accomplished engravers of note] 

- 28 - 

Ray Fremmer 

May 8, 1978 

My Medford Street house, as it appears today, is not what 
it was when I first built it. It was such an architectural 
fantasy when I first built it that the neighbors all complained 
with such bitterness that in order to sell it and get out of 
there I remodeled it completely, destroying all traces of 
Searles, Tenney, and Nevins; at least on the outside. The front 
half of the house I moved intact from the Nevins mansLion. The 
dormer window, now at the front of the house, was once at the 
very back of the Nevins mansion, and gave light to the largest 
cedar closet that I^had ever seen; so big, that the people I 
sold it to used it as a bedroom for their son. The very back 
room of that Medford Street house has panels from the Sutton 
mansion in Andover. Originally my little house had the Searles 
crests over both the front door and the garage, carved in wood 
and direct from Pine Lodge; but those are all gone now J 

Richard Michael is my legal name; Ray, is just a nickname. 
The man who wrote the article about me in 19U8, Bill Collins, Jr., 
is no longer living; I really think he liked me to give me a 
build-up like that. ( Reference: "The Searles Saga - page llij. ) 
One successful New York novelist, Charles Calitri, told me that 
article did more to hurt any creative talent that I had than to 
help it, because it gave me undeserved publicity. I now believe 
that ifl anyone hurt any creative ability I had, it was Charles 
Calitri. He wrote a book based on an incident in my life and 
sold it to Hollywood. It was called, "Strike Heaven on the Face"; 
a really unfair, distorted version of the facts. 

May 26, 1978 

I love old houses, for I not only study them butt I work on 
them like a zealot i I dismantled the Nevins mansion in Methuen, 
and I learned a lot about eighteenth century houses right there 
that long summer. Here in Jamaica I have salvaged things from 
eleven demolished buildings in the process of obtaining numerous 
authentic materials for this old house of mine, on which I have 
devoted fifteen years of my life. This is not mine, but I believe 
it . . . "A good house is the precious life-blood of a master 
spirit, preserved and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond 
life". For years I have been collecting material for a book on 
the great houses of Jamaica. 

The Calitri book is a Signet book, published in 1958, and 
my name is weakly disguised to "Roger Frennel". 

July 18, 1978 

Actually my house was not at 103 Pleasant Street. I only 
received my mail in that box; my little house was actually down 
that side street there, Medford Street, about the fourth house 
down on the right side. You can tell it by the architecture, 
if you look for it. 

- 29 - 

Ray Fremmer 

July 18, 1978 - continued 

Yes, police officer J. Milton Lodge gave me those photos, 
sf the great organ in the Searles music hall, for my story that 
I gave to the library. He liked me. His son was ahead of me 
in school and liked my sister. 

I work for myself, on this house; I don't work for anyone 
else. Green Park is located in Falmouth; five miles from the 

I obtained those bits of the dismantled portion of Pine 
Lodge for the Medford Street house. Tom Dorsey, being a reporter 
at that time, knew of the demolition; I didn't] He went there 
and got those carvings for me. They were very heavily-carved 
portions of exterior ornamental work; angels, and crest, and 
fleur-de-lis. They were terribly heavy, measuring, semi -circular, 
three by four feeti Much to my neighbors' annoyance I nailed 
them to my house above the doors. When I remodeled the house I 
destroyed them; though I deeply regret it now. 

Speaking of postcards; one I have is one of the only two 
things that I treasured, connected to Searles, that I brought to 
Jamaica. I left all traces of Searles behind me when I left the 
States twenty-one years ago, in 1957, except for this postcard 
and the carving of Searles' crest. It's a color view of East 
Street going straight through the estate, which means that the 
photo, used for the postcard, was taken before Searles bought 
old East Street from the town and rerouted it around his estate. 

September 18, 1978 

I have thirty-two framed pictures hanging in my house at 
Green Park; two by three foot enlargements of orginals that are 
in the British Museum, or the New York Public Library. Some are 
from my own snapshots that I had blown up to poster size; all on 
Jamaican history. I have a dozen more on order. 

January 20, 1979 

The enlargements are of eighteenth century engravings, 
reproductions of Fremmer engravings, famous visitors to Green 
Park; Johnny Gash, Billy Graham, and others. I just got back 
to Jamaica two days ago, after three months in New York, and 
found three letters from you waiting for me. 

March 12, 1979 

I've been in New York three months. It took a month to 
find the car I wanted. I spent about a month in the V.A. 
Hospital for an operation on my head, trigeminal neuralgia. 

- 30 - 
Ray Fremmer 

March 12, 1979 - continued 

They put a piece of plastic inside my skull. I shopped for 
antiques; bought a bronze statue, hundreds of glass prisms 
to build my own chandelier, and bronze arms to repair another 
eighteenth century chandelier I have in the house here. It 
takes days and hours of searching to find such items. I had 
giant reproductions made of eighteenth century prints on 
Jamaica. I researched at the New York Library of the Performing 
Arts for everything I could find on an actress from Lawrence, 
Thelma Todd, who committed suicide, it was said, decades ago. 
I researched, at the New York Public Library, more material for 
a paper I am doing on the subject of a famous painting, "Pinkie", 
hanging in a gallery in California. And I took in just about 
every new film to hit New York in those three months; the result 
of being isolated in Jamaica for so long] 

April 18, 1979 

Yes, I was still in Methuen when Mrs. Searles' tomb was 

I did all my research on Searles between 19^5> and 19^8, 
when I wrote up all my notes into final form. 

The name, "Irving Frihling", provokes recognition somehow, 
somewhere, far back in my memory, but much too vaguely. 

October 21, 1979 

For me it started at age six, or seven, when the ten year-old 
boy next door took me with him one day to bring hi3 father his 
lunch, where he worked at Tenney's estate, circa 1932. Walking 
that long driveway with him, from High Street up to the castle, 
and being awed by all the exotic -looking imported trees, and 
the monstrous barking dogs, barking down at us behind the castle, 
as we approached from the back, burned indelibly into me bacsuse 
of my size; so small compared to the driveway, the unusual trees, 
the dogs, and the castle. Because things seem bigger to a little 
kid, I received an unrealistic introduction to what would become 
important in my life. From that time, nothing was as important 
to me as long driveways, beautiful trees, and castles J 

I'm working on my house and it is looking a little more each 
day like maybe Searles would want it to look. I am paneling the 
last room in the house to be done; one wall left to finish. 
Eighteenth century wood used entirely; the panels out of an 
eighteenth century house here, now gone. 

- 31 - 

Ray Freramer 

November 20, 1979 

In the last sixteen years I have written to two or three 
archives in England, and I paid for copies of all the eighteenth 
century correspondence to the builder of this house. He wasn't 
an especially colorful man, but he was very intelligent! 

The money, the polish, and the amount of fine woodwork is 
certainly not here in ray old house, as it is in Pine Lodge, 
Stanton Harcourt, and Great Barrington. However, I have Prank 
Searles' discerning eye, and I am sure he would give me an 'A' 
for effort if he could see what I have devoted sixteen years of 
my life to. My paneling is not oak, which I love, but mahogany, 
out of necessity. Oak has a very short life in Jamaican houses 
due to the termites' preference for it above all other woods. 
My roughly-hewn eighteenth century timbers, twelve by fourteen 
inches in size, would be out of place in Pine Lodge, but they 
have a rustic appeal of strength here. I only have one marble 
floor, and no marble columns at all, but because I laid the 
marble myself, after spending ten or twelve years collecting it 
niece by piece, you can understand how much that one floor means 
to me. 

January 3, 1980 

No, I haven't touched the prisms yet, for the chandelier, 
because I still don't have enough. My project here is no where 
near done, though the main house is getting close. The two wings 
have hardly been touched yet. The marble floor I put in measures 
twelve by eighteen feet. It's just within the huge fifteen-foot 
tall doors, on the south side, that open into the main hall. 
I put the Searles-crest-door sideboard facing the entrance doors 
in the reception hall, that is, just within those columns you 
see in the photo I sent. I had help setting the stones of the floor, 

Yes, I found the lead coffin of the first owner of G-reen 
Park,i Judge John Bradshaw, in the grave badly mutilated by 
grave robbers, so the skeleton was a shambles. 

That cut-stone, one-story building, to the right of the 
bis house, was the kitchen. See the chimney? That cast-iron 
oval window was made in England and was set with Grown glass 
originally, in the eighteenth century. Those columns at the 
main entrance are made of cast iron. The cannons came from 
caDtured ships auctioned in Falmouth harbor to the highest 
bidder, who broke them up for salvage, as lumber and hardware 
were worth their weight in gold. 

Yes, all the material from my little backyard retreat went 
to the Medford Street house. No, when I did my research of 
Searles there was no active historical society in town. I did my 
research, and work, on Medford Street in that first house I built. 

- 32 - 

Ray Fremmer 

May 10, 1980 

No, I never had my Searles story copyrighted. No., there 
were never two versions of my abridged paper on Searles; the 
copy I gave the nuns at Pine Lodge is an exact duplicate of 
the Nevins Library copy, as it was photo-copied from it. My 
original, full-length version I had written out in longhand. 
Then I had that typed. Then, after years went by, and I had 
acquired a typewriter, I myself typed out the abridged version. 
I then sold the typed, full length, version for $5*00. Later 
I gave the abridged version to Nevins Library when I left for 

In 19^-U, the way the war was going, I thought it might be 
over before I could see action if I didn't enlist immediately. 
I turned eighteen after I enlisted. 

At Tufts University I majored in English, taking every 
writing course the university offered, and getting excellent 
grades in them, but very poor grades in all the other subjects 
they required me to take. 

I built three houses on my own, for myself, and sold each 
one before commencing the next; visiting Jamaica between 
projects in the winter. 

I was not in Methuen when the Washington Monument was sold 
and removed, and I don't remember where I was at the time. The 
park, surrounding the monument, was not open to the public, as 
the gate was kept locked. 

To make a dollar I have begun again to write feature stories 
on great houses here in Jamaica. Since I revived my old habit 
ten have been printed, and I am sending one as a sample. 

I now feel I committed high sacrilege in demolishing the 
Nevins mansion in Methuen. The company for which I worked 
also tore down the Sutton mansion in Andover; retaining some 
some of the paneling for my little house on Medford Street. 

July ll|., 1980 

Ray Braun, who took that photo of the towers where the 
organ factory stood next to the Spicket River, was a friend. 
When I was a teenager, and he was married to a neighbor's 
daughter, he big-heartedly gave me his photo enlarger, because 
he had got a new one, and showed me how to use it. I used his 
photo because I liked it. That was many years after the gift 
of the enlarger, and I wanted to have something by him for my 
book. Veil, at least the Nevins abridged version, as he had 
always been first-class to me J 

- 33 - 

Ray Fremmer 

July Ik, 1980 - continued 

I sold my 35,000-word Searles biography for so little 
because I thought so little of it. I was, at that time, flat 
broke; a rebel dismissed from university for taking every 
writing course in the catalog instead of working toward a 
dee-ree, and miserable in every brainless mill job I took in 
Lawrence after Tufts. 

I found all those people I interviewed on Searles easily 
enough; one led to another. This one gave me that one's name. 
I phoned first, usually, and asked for an interview. 
Dr. Morrison's widow was a personal interview at her home. 

August 29, 1980 

I am happy to thank you for correcting my long-standing 
mistake, after so many years of being blissfully unaware of making 
it. I mean ray confusing Collis Huntington with his nephew, Henry 
Huntington; at whose museum, in California, I saw the portrait 
painting of "Pinkie" displayed in the same gallery as "The Blue Boy" 
That was three years ago while on trips to Europe, New York, and 
to the west coast. Pray tell me where I made that error? It must 
have been in that stupid paper I gave to the Nevins Library on 
Searles. Suppose I go down in history on the merits of that piece 
of trash] Heaven forbid? 

With twenty-one stories to my credit so far, in this series 
of features on Jamaican houses that started in February, I admit 
to being elated with all the compliments the local people pay 
me when they see me in Falmouth. And the half-dozen letters I 
have received from people who like my stories so much they feel 
that they must write and tell me about it. 

November 8, 1980 

I was delighted to get the "Pinkie" postcard, that you sent, 
as it satisfies a long-standing frustration. Two or three years 
aso, in a Greenwich Village, New York, art shop, I saw on a rack, 
those identical postcards, and I didn't even buy one] The next 
year, when I went back looking for the shop to buy one of the 
cards, I couldn't even find the dhop, no matter how hard I tried] 

The Red Tavern postcard, that you've also sent, I've never 
seen before. I've always loved the Red Tavern; Searles could 
certainly express himself in architecture. I was in love with 
Searles' buildings, jealous of them, craved to own just one tiny 
one of them; to be wealthy enough to own one of them. I was 
over-awed by the grandeur of wealth] Since that time I've 
wished that I was a nobleman living in a big European castle 
that had been in the family for hundreds of years] 

- 3k - 

Ray Fremmer 

December 2}±, 1980 

Your adventure in exploring the Red Tavern reminds me of* 
nj own at Pine Lodge, at age fourteen. I never was inside the 
Red Tavern in my life, so I thank you for the copies of your 
jolor photos taken of the interior. I love that chandelier 
bhat hangs over the staircase.' Just this past week I have been 
working on the reconstruction of my own eighteenth century 
3handelier; bronze, with five hundred glass prisms. 

January 28, 1981 

Chance encounters have blessed me, to meet Douglas Dillon, 
Secretary of the Treasury, Johnny Cash, millionaire recording 
star, and his wife June Carter; Billy Graham visited me here, 
as well as Waylon Jennings, Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen, Ali 
MacGraw, Dustin Hoffman, Count and Countess bedell, of Denmark. 
Millionaires, artists, famous people like actor Peter Pinch, and 
others, have come here to see me because someone or other told 
them about me. They color my life; make it interesting] 

April 21, 1981 

I can't explain why I had no chance to get inside the Red 
Tavern when I was doing my research, and I don't even remember 
if it was operating as a restaurant at that time or not, but I 
have a feeling that it was closed up back then. 

Tom Dorsey told me that the contractor taking down the 
Washington Monument kept the box, that contained the Searles 
relics, for himself. 

Ben Rowland was the ail-American figure image to the guys 
back at the wool brokers' office in Boston. While it is true 
that Rowland met me for lunch in Boston, when I was still in 
university and doing my research, I sensed that he wasn't at all 
impressed with me. As we parted, after lunch, he gave me an 
appointed day and time to show me through Pine Lodge. However, 
when I arrived at his door a little son answered, and called 
behind him, "Mother J " Finally Ben appeared, and said that he 
had an unexpected appointment and couldn't make it; couldn't 
show me through the place after all. I'm not sure, but he may 
also have returned to me, at his door, my unabridged version of 
my Searles manuscript which I had lent him at lunch in Boston, 
with the comment that we have to be kind to our dead friends; 
meaning Searles I He just decided to bow out of the scene, 
leaving me bewildered and disappointed] 

- 35 - 
Ray Fremmer 

ruiy 11, 1981 

After Tufts University dismissed me I was sort of a misfit 
'or years. I didn't have the money for a car, and couldn't drive 
myhow; and so rode everywhere on an English Raleigh bicycle, 
inch to the dismay of my mother who said I was in my second 
childhood, at the age of twenty-three, in 19i}-9. I visited her 
Less, and spent most of my time at the small house out in the 
country, which I built when I was twenty-one, in 19^-7. Anyhow, 
lot working, and riding a bicycle, and frequenting the river 
3wimming hole daily, as a rebound back to nature from the dry 
academic life of the university, I fell in, incongruously, with 
others who, like me, were not working, riding bicycles, and 
frequenting the swimming hole; boys around sixteen years old. 
Veil, I suppose that it looked bad, but as a rebel I didn't care; 
:>r what others said, or thought. I was doing what I wanted to do, 
and that was all that mattered. 

December 31, 1982 

About that swimming hole I mentioned; it was on the Spicket 
River. You walk the railroad tracks through the heart of Methuen 
in the northerly direction until, at the edge of the town, the 
tracks cross over the river on a railway bridge. Just over the 
bridge, at the left side of the tracks, there is a wonderful path 
along the side of the river leading, after about five hundred 
feet, to what are known as "the little eddies", where, up until 
fifteen years ago, males of all ages, and a few adventurous females, 
would go swimming nude. 

No, during that swimming hole period I wasn't working. 
You have to remember that I was always an iconoclast; a breaker 
of idols. I refused to join my parents, and the multitude of 
robots, suffering out their lives in quiet desperation in the 
Lawrence textile mills. How did I live without working ? I 
existed on my meager veteran's allowance by riding a bicycle, 
not a car. By not drinking, or smoking; by eating very little, 
and by building my own small house on a forty-five by eighty foot 
piece of land that I paid forty-five dollars for. 

But that swimming hole period in my life ended about 1955 
when I learned to drive, sold that house, enlarged by that time, 
and finally went to Jamaica in 1957. There is hardly a day I 
don't miss that old swimming hole where we swam naked, and didn't 
have a care in the world, all summer long, summer after summer 
for about seven years; 191+8 to 1955 I 

- 36 - 

Flaming Towers Story Research 

Page 9 - May 10, 1980 

Reference: Ruth L. Barnard paper, June, 1955 - Nesmith Library 
Windham, New Hampshire. 

Page 1 - Paragraph 8 

The original Stanton Harcourt castle receives its name from 
the English Stanton family, and the French Harcourt family. The 
two families inter-married, thus the name Stanton Harcourt. After 
the Reformation, however, the Stantons turned Protestant, while 
the Harcourts remained Catholic. The Stantons turned on the 
Harcourts and burned all their castles, and they also abolished 
the Harcourts' insignia from the shield, or coat-of-arms. The 
burning castle and the coat-of-arms, with one side a complete 
blank, are frequently seen carved on the walls and fireplaces of 
the castle. 

Page 9 - July Ik, 1980 

Reference: Research at Boston Public Library on July 3, 1980. 
Harcourt Genealogy, by Josiah C. Wedgewood - 191^4-. 

Page 198 - Jane, widow of Sir Thomas Harcourt, re-married before 
ll±2l\. t Sir Robert Stelley of Oxon, Notts. Him too, she survived, 
and, known then as Dame Jane Harcourt of Bosworth, it was she who 
in ll}.50 is cited as procuring the attack on the Staffords of 
Grafton. Murders, which like some Kentucky fued, slew off the 
Staffords and Harcourts between li+JL|.8 and llj.71. 

Page 201 - This is the account, taken from contemporary documents, 
of the fueds of the Harcourts and the Staffords of Grafton and 
Chebsey; but why it started no man knows - in lljlj-8 Plea Rolls. 

- The servants of Sir Robert Harcourt of Stanton and Bosworth, 
knight, designing the death of Sir Humphrey Stafford and of Richard 
Stafford, his eldest son, on Wednesday before Corpus Christi, 
26 Hen. VI, in the High Street of Coventry, at the time of the fair, 
had collected other malefactors - sixty in number, armed, with 
salades, jakkes, swordes and billes by the procurement of Lady Jane 
Harcourt of Bosworth, widow - and had insulted, beaten and wounded 
Sir Humphrey and murdered Richard Stafford and William Sharpe his 
servant, - and with salades and defensible long swordes and short 
pole axes, glayves and daggers had beaten and wounded Sir Humphrey 
Stafford and Richard Beauchamp arm, and nine servants of Humphrey, 

- 37 - 

and had left Humphrey insensible and nearly dead so that his 
life was despaired of." 

For this, which is only told from the Stafford side, Sir 
Robert was outlawed. But with the Yorkists back in power in 
li|.5lf and Sir Robert in Parliament, the outlawry was annulled, 
so he formally surrendered at the Marshal sea in February, llj.5l, 
saying that he had been in Chester prison when the outlawry had 
been promulgated. Among those who stood surety for him were: 
Walter Blaunt of London, arm., Richard Harcourt of North Leigh, 
Oxon, arm., William Vernon of Harlaston, arm., and John Harcourt 
of Ellenhall, arm., In the Stafford history is an even fuller 
account of the killing of the Staffords by Sir Robert and John 
Harcourt of Eccleshall (sic), arm.; that Robert, with a two- 
handed sword, had "struck Richard Stafford on the head, causing 
a mortal wound." etc. 

The Rege. Roll of 32 Hen. VI, continues the fight - 

Sir Humphrey Stafford of Grafton, Richard Beauchamp of G-rafton, 
and four hundred others, on May 1st, llj-50, assembled at Felde 
in Wychwode, and went thence by night to Stanton Harcourt, and 
had attacked at break of day Robert Harcourt and his servants 
whilst they were at their devotions, and had driven them into 
the church tower of Stanton Harcourt. They besieged them for 
six hours, burnt part of the church, even the crucifix, and 
completed their crimes by carrying off seven horses and all the 
Harcourts' household goods, which are curiously and laboriously 
set out in full. And by one of the "one thousand arrows" 
William Massey had been slain. As soon as the Lancastrians got 
back to power in October, llj.70, the Staffords had it back on 
Sir Robert, and slew him. In llj.71, Margaret, widow of Sir Robert 
Harcourt, appealed William Stafford of Grafton, Thomas and 
Humphrey Stafford of Grafton, arm., and about one hundred and 
fifty others, mostly from South Staffordshire, for the death of 
her husband. And thereafter, year after year, for four years, 
she appealed them, but received no justice; whence I deduce that 
the Staffords of Grafton and Ghebsey reverted to the winning side, 

Sir Robert had married before II4I1-O, Margaret, daughter of 
Sir Jonh Byron of Clayton, Lancashire. 











g ^ xi 



' M ~Cd ® 





>> 2 





r cD 



1 — -. 












i CO CO «_■ 

g £ a? 

cd 2 2 co 

X< " be 

° ? bC-S 

- +3 X bc 

c£> C T3 a 

^ oj o 2 

• S _g S3 -2 

<D »-5 o CD 

2 ^ '- ' <D 

^ 2 ^ xi 

"° 2 x ^ 

a .2 -r; o 

_ b i> CO 

S ^ S "43 

2 -A ° o 

.§ £ « •> 

CD CD <d X! 

c « O o 

CD -+-> 

X £ 
_ s* 

£ t CD 
O It! 

CD w 

+-> r 

^ ^ 

cd j-j 



M X 


*-< $ 

r 1 CD 

■5 M 


O O 
5-1 cd 

5 ^ 
g 8 






. o 

CD «S 

^ co 

cd CD 

S s 

s s 

>^ CD 

r- j Jh 

cd fe 

3 . 







^^3 CD CD 
r-H cd 93 X 
X Sh O -u 

"3 -2 £ <- 

co rt 7^ o 

T3 cd g .2> 

^ S co 

O >> S CD 
o cd ^ X! 

X o Xl m 

*-*:: s 

CD >><£ 
£ <4-i -+J CO 

r^ X ^ 

2 ^ r- 

CD "^ CD g 
CO <-, ^ 

■-^ 2 CD CO 

03 MX M 

CO bB CD ^ fi 


fi Xi 

O -^ 

'-' -a 

2 o 

-u x 


-£ 9 £ 


^ co 

m X! 


CD CD ^ 

X CD " 

-P ^ CD 

C — -< Xl 

-FM r2 "^ 

be 3 «<h 
3 o o 


- * s 


£ fl -iJ 2 

cd cd _c X 

. fa CD -tJ •{-< 

>, cd xi -53 S* 

cd >-3 +^ .2 .2? 

"O tw -P >■ Tj 

O cd ^ 


-r 1 - co 

" S | 

CD d 

a c 

+J -H +J 

y,- bC 
CO « & 

> !7 CD (« <a 

cd ^ ^ y co 

S " « S5 ^ 

X c! *) d 

CD f3 >) C 



>> cd 
G o 

> & 


CO >H 


bC a 

O H 


> 0) 3 O j 

« S B S. g 

10 J) _, CD 

+= X, 'O x) fe 

•>-h CD Ci ^ 

^ CO Cd § CD 

2 2 -^ 2 ® 

T3 "o T3 O +a 
g X « ^ be 

fi cd 
co co 

ptl U) X -P +1 CO 

cd cd 'o ■ 
X X o fe: 

4J ^J CO V 

■ > 3 

>> o ^ 

■g — « 
cd s 





2 "3 

si o 
a -^ 
a, cd 

33 o 
+* CO 

o * 
-a £ 

cd g: 

■ -—i .. 

03 co 


^ .s 

G x3 

CO fn 

a cd 

<h co 
8 Co 
o 4h 

CO rG 

S3 CO 

■a -w 

4g o 

ca as 

8 » 

















.-S 43 




03 rt XI S3 
_w H -i- 3 3 

a) o >,* 

-£ ^ X CO 
33 CO Sh 

S * "^ 9? 
g co co fe 

^ % S3 
•co f* .3. CO 

-I s f « 

S3 2 .2 S3 
5 - fa CO 

cd ^^ 43 

rj 08 03 5 +3 

G "^ 13. 

S3 -p __. o3 

■ S 18 -^ 

o * o 

J C<£ras2 

IS "^ 

cd rj 


bD 03 

■ S Et 

+3 bo 

S3 O 

r£ W 

• 1-1 -p 

>> 2 

S3 ^ 
03 ^ 
^ bD 
^3 c 
03 .5 

43 ^ 

S3 O 
O 53 

CO S3 

44 o 

CO Sh 


r5 i-rj 


co nd 

CO r-i 

33 3 

cd O 

O o 

r2 >> 

CO cS 

r* XS 

>, CO CO 

* cd 

co G 

£ s § 

CO -G Sh 

■P <H 

co bD tj 

S3 S3 a 

-2 '5 3 

S oi O 

13 co ' 




^ 3 

cd co 

03 CO 

+J -p 


E> 03 

co S3 

I— I ■— ' T 
rH -^ ^ 

-33 CO 

^ a bi 

co CO S3 
cd co -3 

3=3 o 
X5 cd -3 
o ~ 

•i 3 ^ 


> Sh CD 

CD T3 

>> .13 * 
CO o be 


rH bO 

2 S3 ^ld 

^3 .1-1 3 ,-1 

o cd -u w 

co ^ -^ ® 

^^ .5? § 

^ "cd g g 

+* co co co 


J3 J3 


^ 8 'CD 
CO -+J 





-i 13 o 

5 g BUi 

-^ be >>Mn 



co a 




S3 co 

8 1 


03 +p 
S 0) - 

•8 _S S ° 

CO £ £ T ' 

CO 03 

a -a 

a> 2 S3 
■p X cd 


03 j3 

8 . 

O S3 

43 .13 

. cd 

.13 > 



ft S3 _, 
o3 ? 

.s g 43 >»& 

M S? A co 

•^ ^ S3 C -S3 

a3 £ '5b S 

33 ^ » g 5 

03 bD-c ™ 

rj bD 13 ^ 

S3 -h CD O ^ 

co T3 X! 


P 3^3 
3.3?^ ^ 

- <g v w S 8 

g >h os x cd +3 

Xi ft ft +J ?-i CO 



CD co 

S3 cd 

O -« 

^ CD 


S3 -^ 

43 cd 

^ 43 

co 13 

45 ft 

cd co 

„ T3 

co ^ 

+p S3 

'Sh '^ 

^ CO 



Sh ^ 

-^ S 

-tJ CD 

CO ^3 CO 

^ S S3 

| § s 

03 <4h ft 

O ~ O 

CO 4J 

2 * S3 

g 43 o 

CO Sh 

43 £ 


bD --3 

CO P" 1 >^ 

X . 

p ti id 

G ^ 8 

.35 cd O 

>, ° JD 

Sh CD 4h 

"rt HH CO 



X co 

E-i CD 


a 8 

O 33 

O O 



* g 

0) o 

I $ 

$ s^ 


co cd 
33 S3 
3 O 



>> "tt -^ 





































2 ft 

8 cc 

CO m 

43 "S 

> O 

o o 


G 8 
■ h cd 

^ , 

43 .tn 

a to 

-p cS 

cd co 

— ' X 

CO +» 

X iM 
o .2 


co 2 

? -8 

cd -^ 
o CO 


43 X 

+p +j 

■4-3 -+J 

cd cd 

43 si 

-^> +j 

co T3 

'~ S3 

co cd 


Sh X3 


° s 

T3 43 

cd X 


8 <D 

I « 

T3 -rH 


"5 si 

■s | 

X tS 


.co "73 

O S3 
3. CD 

>> CD 

q3 is 

S3 S3 
cd cd 

■rl +P 
+J CO 



■ rH 03 
Sh rr-J 

2 ^ 

43 cd 

> . 


•8 r£3 

T3 -^ 

S3 bD 

cd c. 

+p .35 

co o 

irJ £ O 

«3 "r3 

"rH ft 





4h "^ 
^3 , 


2 o 


cd > 

"8 CD 

.13 ■<-= 

+* S3 

co ,JJ 






•>•- 8 

fi O Sh 
• 35 o O 

"^ <+H 

S3 " 


H CD +* 

+3 x h 

+J S3 


ft .rH CD 

S3 ^ 43 

S S3 += 


03 _q 

CD • — 

X ft 


■^ si 

-a — > 

® bD 

ft ^ 


CD X^ 

X 0) 

CD -t-» 

CD Sh Cd 

X cd S3 

-^ 43 35 

+3 "^ 

-73 Sh 

S3 Trl 

c5 2 ^ 



s8 JH f^ 

2 -3 r 

3 S3 

■h co 3; 

03 cd 2 

"r & 

2 ^ S 

o o o 

ft c 

S3 co _ 

cs CD cd 

- 43 3 

35 • 4 - > co 

.. 3S 
■*-» CO 

35 S3 cd 

° C X 


« 8 S 

'+2 3 

bD -u -t-J 

C y3 

bD If co 

c T 2 

cd -tj h- 

r- J3 CD 

■^ bD Sh 

CD 3 _, 

X O rt 

^ -C S3 

c *- - 

■^ .^ -a 

=D m 

CD i- ~ 

CO 03 Sh 

° X 3 

o CJ X 

Sh +p 


Sh Sh 


.■a co 

ft X 


X Sh 

h*3 o 

T3 rj 

O bb 

-<-> bD 



8 5 



„ Sh 


03 _£H 

* o 

ft CD 

8 si 

S3 +» 

^ 8 

CD c hh 

2 &c 


CD bD 

Sh bD 

k! co 

>> Sh 

CJ "73 

T3 ° 

2 a 

X (H 

>i X 

H3 .rH 

S3 X 

Sh !> 



CD T3 

CD s3 

Sh 35 

r- Cd 

O Sh 



Sh CD 
03 >> 



.8 3 
-3 «a 


S3 co 


8 "S 

~ 03 

03 r^ 

43 ^-> ^-> 

+J CD T3 03 

+3 03 ■-£ X 

•>■' X +-' 

ft -<-> ^ 






6 *• 

CD T3 

CD -u 


si £ 

O 43 


+a co 

ft CD 

cd rrt 


X 43 

CD -< 

co °o 


-S3 S -h >-| 
^-> CD ft ►— ' 

CS >; 

6 2 

03 43 

x -^ 

bD "hS 

-3 * 

T3 CD 

CD 43 


O C T3 

-^ 5 s3 

O Sh ^ 

5 ^ co 

>» o o 
cl S3 -Q 

-73 CD "g 

CD > ,2 

■73 <D 

C co 4<5 

co • a co 

Pr3 J) 

CD ^ "J3 

ft rH C 

$3 CD 03 

35 ft c" 
r3 oT =5 

T3 co £> 

° 8 S 

2 -£ a 



si 'bo 
.35 co 


IT 5 

CD ^j 

^ a 




3 3 2 CD 

bD 'C — Sh 


r2 ft 


^ Cfi 
Sh CG 

2 CD 
* X 


■S 8 

a co 

■p x 


<~ cd -c rd 

tn +J 3 Jh 

33 "^ 

cd si 


cd" S-h 
O O 

43 T3 

o a 

+p 03 

-73 Sh 
03 2 

43 .t, 
^ 03 

"Xj cd 
cd co 

CO -h 

-73 ^ 

•rS CO 

cd _,^> 

~* si 

of ^bD 

G a) 
*; +j 





.a cd -*-> 

a g 


cd G 
X ® 

+3 x 


CO bD 

G .8 


CD cd 

+J Sh 

+J CD J, Tj S3 

* X 4-i 1^1 

0> Jl 


O St CD 
> CD St 
C> ;> CD 


.2 cd -V 
cd x) -3 


ho +a 

O 3 

03 < ~ J 

S3 CD 

O -co 

4-3 O 

in -C 
ft 43 "OS 

<D ^ 

St o 

-S 43 

^ O 

^-H CCi 


O +* rW C+H 


CL <+t 







O rQ 
CD CD "^ 

S3 S3 CD 

s ° 

^ ^ CD 

co c 


'-3 S 





CD " _ 

fl CD 

O t>J 

15 "« 

co o3 

.5 S 

O St 

£h O 

-^ c 


43 43 

St 3 

O O 

-t— CO CD 

0-i 42 45 +3 

« .3 13 =3 * 

S- 3 § * 

£ 5 2 £ 

cd Jr! 
co" 43 t3 > 

o fl ■n 

^ --h CD CO — ; 

13 * * G ^ 
3 <1) - O r- 

42 -^ ^d +* .£ 

■S S e * 43 
.13 3 S 42 o 
^ cr co c 

•- g 43 (x, rt 

43 c« « g * 
"^ aa T. ffl "B 

- tO >> rj 3 

S3 03 H 3 O 

O ^ -3 03 

Tii c8 O . 

rS co 

4*1 S3 LT co co 
o R cu -S 03 

CD C+-, -U O St 

C O O T3 ^ 

d -^ 
I | 

co > 
fn j3 

S +^ 
O o 


O - CD 

-p -O to 
o> g^ 

T3 ,2 «> 

c cd "3 
•I S t 

S3 co < 


O ft • 

•I-H CO 

ft 13 M 

>> o S3 

It ^ 
.5 H 43 



6.S > 

3 5h 0) 

<» -° 1? 

CO CD ^ 

3 s-h 3 




r-i ^ 

^ o 

CD „iD 

-U CD 

S3 rH 

03 g 

co ^ 

S3 ,2 


S o 


co ^ 

03 co 

^ £ 

r3 ^ 

ri o 

S3 S3 

03 co "o 

° g 03 

S3 _, <u 





. S3 
T3 03 

3 CD 


o .S 

o ^ 


CD +^ 

-a +, 

_ 03 

"o3 XI 

CD co 

S 5 

r* ^ 

03 o 

-^ a 
v $ 

=+-i CD 
42 13 

O 03 


cd" CD 


!h CCJ 

-^ XI 

co "^ 


r c3 S 

o o 

■a M 

XI Si 

ft O 


3 S ^H 

43 -g 

be S3 


43 a 

a -d 

.S 43 




O r-j 

CD "T3 
cp * 

■-< ,ZX 03 

T3 ^ ^ 

2 • CD 

=3 t> o 

03 cd CQ 
bC "^ xa 

s ^ « 

rS3 S ^ 

* o ^ 

S w 3 

o >>o 

CD bD S3 
X 3 S3 

03 o3 

^ G 31 

03 03 f3 

CO ^ 

03 a) 

£ rH 


S3 XI 

O -P 



CO CO >> T3 CD 


03 03 

^ ^ C 

rt 5,(11 

"3 ~ 2 h 

^ On 1 " 

i CD 

CO I., 

CO cp 

C 43 

co" XI 

s s 

CD »H 

£ S 

o o 

co O 

>> O 

cd *-• 

> CD 

CD St 


S3 X 

^ CD 

<D 4* 

> _, 

S S3 


. 03 

03 O 

03 co 

-5 'O „ 03 S 

■+f — co ^ S 

S 03 -2 03 -° 

O w _J3 CD CD 

1 -a 


CD rR 

CD +» 
-^ CD 

^ 03 
S3 y 

03 '43 

43 C 

CD > 

>> CD 
St N 
CD "p 

> .5 
CD 4J 

43 ^ 

rv St 
•"^ CD 

03 St ^3 

O O -u 

O ° co 

S3 & « 

^ •-— . .„ 

3 O co 

cd M -" if, CQ 
CD >,t3 .2 

O _2 O 43 CD 
bD o S3 -p 5 -u 

r3 a 

3 8 

CO r— 

£ | 

St CO 
CD -p 

> H 


£ .2 





Volume VII 


Published by 


Mackinac Island State Park Commission 

Stevens T. Mason Ruilding 

Lansing, Michigan 

Printed by: TRIKRAFT, Incorporated, Lansing, Michigan 
© 1973 — The Society for Historical Archaeology 

The Society for Historical Archaeology 

The Society for Historical Archaeology is a non-profit, scientific-educational or- 
anization which aims to promote scholarly research in, and the dessemination of 
knowledge concerning historical archaeology; to exchange information in this field; to 
lold periodic conferences to discuss problems of mutual interest relating to the study 
)f historical archaeology; and to obtain the cooperation of the concerned disciplines 
or projects of research. The focus of interest is the era since the beginning of explor- 
ations of the non-European parts of the world by Europeans, with prime concern in 
:he Western Hemisphere. The Society also concerns itself with European, Oceanic, 
African, and Asian archaeology having a definite bearing upon scholarly problems in 
the Western Hemisphere. 

The Society invites the participation and support of all who share its interest in 
history as it emerges from archaeological research and the study of written records. 
Membership is open to both professionals and interested laymen. 

Dishes in Colonial Graves: 
Evidence from Jamaica 


I'd. occasional discover) <>l ceramic dish 
es in Christian English graves ol the post- 
medieval period has long been a source of 
debate; indeed, one such find gave rise to an 
exchange <>! correspondence in tin- columns 
ol The Gentleman's Magazine as far back as 
L785. Until 1967, however, there seem to 
li.i\ e been n<> recorded instances ol compar- 
able finds outside the British Isles. In that 

i one Such disCOA erj w as made in 

[amaica and was followed in h)72 b) 
another. These two instances, and the infn i 
> to he drawn from them, provide tin' 
substance ol the brie! paper that follows. 

The lirst example was found nol in an oi 
dinar) grave but in a substantial!) built and 
onl) partial 1) subterranean mausoleum 
owned b) the Ricketts famil) ol Westmore- 
land in southwestern [amaica. Three in 
■ ribed ura\ e slabs pro> ided the floor ol the 
mausoleum, establishing the lust occupants 
i > [a< ol>. ion ■>! ( leorge Ricketts, who died in 
land in 1755 at the age of 27; Hannah, his 
,vife, who died in 1749 aged 28, and Mar) the 
,vife of George who died in L755 at the age ol 
5 t Constructed in about 1749, the tomb r< 

1 eleven members ol the famil) before 
the survivors sold the plantation and re 
turned to England Periodical!) the) re 
turned to )amai< a .ind maintained in active 
interest in the property; as long as the) did ... 

the new owners kept the m. ins. ileum in 

til Subsequent changes in ownership, 

however, along with the fluctuating 
economic fortunes of Jamaican sugar plan- 
ters, allowed the tomb to become neglected, 

and at some date in the early L960s it was 

broken into l>> vandals who stole the had 
coffins, hacking them into portable pieces 
and leaving behind only the bones, the re 

mains ol the outer wooden shells, and a lew 
o\ crlooked scraps of lead. The burial 
chamber had been entered through an 
eighteen-inch hole in the wall and it was 
through this that the robbers had handed out 

the salvaged lead. Along with coffin nails, 

handles, and three copper name plates, the 

I 967 investigation > ielded the fragments ol a 

plain, English, white saltLjla/ed stonewaie 
saucer dating bom the second 01 thud ijuai 

iei oi the eighteenth centur) Figure L, left) 
The presence ol the saucei did not im- 
mediate!) attract much attention. \s it was 
not actually found within one of the coffins it 
could be argued that it had been hit behind 

b) "lie ol th< bm ial parties, a stand, pel haps 
loi a long-Since deca\ecl candle I he <\i 

dene e ol the second discover) was 

quivocal, howevei The slender remains ol i 
wooden coiHii were discovered in a io. k 
hew ii ^r,,\ e on i ii ■ ii plantation >i I i< 
lawny, |amai< a, in 1972, the burial revealed 
through the natural erosion "l the ov< rl 

topsoil Rest against the left femui "I a 

well preserved male skeleton was a broke n 
feathi i > dg< d i n imware plat) "i about 

Dishes in Colonial Graves 


FIGURE 1. Left: An English white saltglazed stoneware saucer found in a tomb in Westmoreland, Jamaica, in 1967 . 
Diameter 4 3/4". Right: A feather-edged creamware plate found in a grave in Trelawny, Jamaica in 1972. Diameter 

1770-1780 (Figure 1, right). The weight of 
the overburden had apparently been respon- 
sible for shattering the plate, lor the coffin 
appeared to have bulged inwards as the 
wood decayed (Figure 2). Coffin nails and 
handles were recovered along with the re- 
mains of what seemed to have been thin 
brass coffin ornamentation, and white glass 
buttons of various sizes were found resting 
l>> the skeleton's ribs. The buttons undoub- 
tedly came from a shirt, just as other larger 
buttons of bone found at the waist came with 

equal certainty from trousers. Nevertheless, 
the curious way in which the phalanges, 
metatarsals, and lower tarsals pointed 

downwards (i.e. towards the foot of the cof- 
fin), suggested that the corpse had also been 
tightly wrapped, being interred in both clo- 
thing and shroud. The creamware plate lay 
below the pelvis and is thought to have re- 
sted on edge within the coffin, but if the 
plate's purpose is correctly interpreted it is 
likely that it slipped from the abdomen into 
that position after the lid was closed. 

In 1956, the then archaeologist for the 
Corporation of London, Ivor Noel Hume, 
encountered an apparent parallel in e.\ea\ a- 
dons in the churchyard of St. Martin, Vintry, 

a London parish church binned in the Great 
I ire of loon, but whose burial ground eon- 


Historical Archaeology 1973 

FIGURE 2 Skeleton ■ tcavated in May of 1972 In Tre- 
Inn mi. famaica, showing, in situ, <i feathei edged 

. reamu are />/<w< of ca 1 77u SO 

(inucd in use into the eighteenth century. 
Found within tin- area encompassed l>\ the 
tower of the medieval church were five 
wooden coffins one o| which contained an 
intai t delftware plate inverted ovei the pel 
\.is oi the skeleton and held there l>\ its 
hands When removed scraps "I hail were 

found adhering to the plate, indicating that it 
had lain directly against the corpse and had 
not been separated from it by the shroud. 
The plate, now in the collection of the 
Museum of London, was decorated in 
pseudo-Ming style in underglaze blue and 
was manufactured between about 1675 and 
1685. (Noel Hume 1974: Figure 77). No exp- 
lanation for its presence in the coffin was 
immediately forthcoming. Mr. Noel Hume 
noted at the time that although his museum 
duties had caused him to examine the con- 
tents of hundreds of coffins exposed as a re- 
sult of wartime bombing, the St. Martin, Yin- 
try, burial alone contained an object not as- 
sociated with the deceased's person or ap- 
parel. In short, therefore, his experience in- 
dicated that such enriched interments were 
at least unusual. 

The previously mentioned exchange of 
correspondence in The Gentleman's 
Magazine (1784-85) related to the discovery 
of a pewter plate contained in a burial of 
unspecified date in the graveyard of St. 
Mary's Church, at Leicester. After describ- 
ing the condition of the plate, the writer, W. 
Bickerstaffe of Leicester, in his letter of 
March 16, 1 78 1 added that it was "conjec- 
tured to have been laid, charged with salt, on 
tin body of a deceased, and forgotten to be 
withdrawn" (The Gentleman's Magazine, 
April 1784: 258). More than a year elapsed 
before he received any response- from fellow 
leaders, and when it came, it iiiexplical >l\ 
lurked behind the pseudonym "Q.Q.Q." 
who observed that the plate which bicker- 
staffe "imagined" to have been "charged 
With salt, and laid on a ( oipse" was. in fact, a 
patten inserted "in the coffin of some priest 

or incumbent of thai church" (The 
Gentleman's Magazine, Maj 1785: 428). 
Q.Q.Q. wenl on to inquire as to the origins 

and purpose of the salting practice, and it 

was Bickerstaffe in a lettei dated |nl> K). 
1785 who provided an answer, one at the 
same time both tarl and leadenlj pedagogic-: 

'Youi instructive correspondent Q.Q.Q 
... having met with no answer to his inquiry 

about a plate ol s.Jl |. ml oil the de< eased; I 

Dishes in Colonial Graves 


will venture to inform your correspondent 
(after I have bid him recollect that the place 
of interment was in church) that it was a 
custom in Leicester and its shire, yet con- 
tinued, to place a dish or plate of salt on a 
corpse, to prevent its swelling and purging, 
as the term is. To account for the partial cor- 
rosion of the pewter, that it prevailed chiefly 
on the margin of the plate, and so slightly its 
calix, we may suppose it was protected by its 
saline contents from the action of the morbid 
matter; for the effluvia of salt may pervade or 
overflow its container or charger, as readily 
as magnetic virtue; and the lips of the plate 
possessing little or no preventive salt, the 
sanies was at liberty, there, to effect the grea- 
ter impression" (The Gentleman's Maga- 
zine, August 1785: 603). 

In Octoher, 1785, another anonymous 
scholar threw in his twopence worth, inform- 
ing Bickerstaffe that his explanation was 
wrong and that as Q.Q.Q. had stated, the 
plate was "a patten placed on the breast of 
the deceased, to show he had been a priest." 
The writer signed *C*C added that the rec- 
ognized practice of placing salt on plates 
atop corpses to prevent air entering the bow- 
els and causing the stomach to expand, did 
not included interring the salt, much less the 
pewter dish, along with the deceased. (The 
Gentleman's Magazine, Octoher 1785:760). 
Bickerstaffe seems to have let it goat that, not 
bothering to note that he had said from the 
start that he thought the presence of the plate; 
was accidental. 

Bickerstaffe's reasoning was endorsed in 

part by other sources brought together by 

that indefatigable antiquary and proto 
sociologist John Brand in his Observations 
mi the Popular Antiquities o\ Great Britain. 
Brand's manuscript was compiled prior to 

I7 ( ).">, but it was not published until 1813 at 
which date it was issued in a version edited 

and augmented bj Sir Henrj Ellis. In the 
section devoted to British mourning and bur- 
ial practices, he observed that "It is custom 
arj at this d.e. [c. 1790). in sonic pails of 

Northumberland, to set a pewter plate con- 
taining a little salt upon I he coipse" | Brand 

I M'* 234). It had been suggested, he said, 

that the practice was intended to protect the 
deceased from the attentions of Satan for 
"the devil loveth no salt in his meat, for that 
is a sign of eternity, and used by God's com- 
mandment in all sacrifices." Thomas Pen- 
nant in his Tours in Scotland ( 1771-75) had 
reported that on the death of a Highlander, 
"the corpse being stretched on a board, and 
covered with a coarse linen wrapper, the 
friends lay on the breast of the deceased a 
wooden platter, containing a small quantity 
of salt and earth, separate and unmixed: the 
earth an emblem of the corruptile body, the 
salt an emblem of the immortal spirit" 
(Brand 1849: 235). A similar practice was re- 
corded from the Isle of Man where the 
corpse was laid on a "straightening-board" 
and a "trencher with salt in it, and a lighted 
candle, are placed on the breast, and the bed, 
on which the straightening-board bearing 
the corpse rests is generally strewed with 
strong-scented flowers" (Brand 1849:235). 
The placing of a dish of salt over the heart 
was also noted in Ireland in 1777, where the 
same reason as given. It was not, however, 
the explanation given in The Gentleman's 
Magazine, and Brand, borrowing from it, ob- 
served in a footnote that 'the custom of put- 
ting a plate of salt upon corpses is still re- 
tained in many parts of England, and particu- 
larly in Leicestershire . . . The pewter plate 
and salt arc laid on the' corpse with an intent 
to hinder air from getting into the bowels, 
and swelling up the belly, so as to occasion 
either a bursting, or, at least, a difficulty in 
closing the coffin" (Brand IS l<) : 23 1-55). 

Extensive inquiries amongst [amaicans 
have revealed that in isolated parts of the 
island where traditional customs survive a 
dish containing a mixture ol freshly ground 
Coffee and salt is laid on the stomach ol the 
corpse and remains then throughout tin- 
wake and burial. This last is important foi 

none of the quoted eighteenth-centur) 
British sources state that tin salt-laden 
dishes were Nit in the coffin, and as previ 
ousl) noted. I In Gentleman's Magazine 
correspondents were firm in then conten- 
tions to the contrar) The famaican introduc- 
tion ol th<- ( offee would appeal to !><■ a varia- 


Historical Archaeology 1973 

tion on the already cited British practice of 
strewing the vicinity of the corpse with 
strong-scented flowers. Although it is possi- 
hle to construct a relationship hetween such 
funerary practices and comparable African 
rituals, there is no reason to assume that 
either of the eighteenth-century Jamaican 
burials under discussion were anything but 
British in origin. The question, however, is 
whether the presence of ceramic saucers, 
plates, or other dish-like vessels found in 
British or colonial graves can really be as- 
sociated with the salt-technique and, if so, 
whether such discoveries can be of value in 
suggesting regional origins. 



1784-1785 The Gentleman's Magazine. 


Brand, John 

1849 Observations on the Popular Anti- 
quities of Great Britain: Chiejlxj Illus- 
trating the Origin of Our Vulgar and 
Provincial Customs, Ceremonies, and 
Superstitions, Vol. II. Bonn's Anti- 
quarian Library, London. 

Noel Hume, Ivor 

1974 All The Best Rubbish. Harper and 
Row, New York.